How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. B. Your Own Question
Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 16155
Experience:  I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
60269376
Type Your Pet Question Here...
Dr. B. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My guinea pig has been losing weight and I am concerned. He

Customer Question

My guinea pig has been losing weight and I am concerned. He is a four year-old neutered male living with 3 females. I took him to the local vet 2 days ago and there was no clear answer to his weight loss. The doctor felt his body and looked at his teeth. She said he was reacting as if his belly hurt and then said she would attempt to do a blood test, but they were unable to draw blood and she did not want to sedate him if he was already ill. She gave me some Baytril and said to see if this helps improve his condition before stressing him out with any other vet visit/tests.
Around 3 weeks ago he weighed 1030 g and I took him to the doctor when I noticed he got much thinner and weighed only 725 g. This morning it was only 696 g, despite giving him lots of opportunities for extra treats. He has been more lethargic than usual as well. He still walks around, but he spends more time in his house and barely moves away from it when I use the hand vaccuum to clean up the poos.
We also separated the cage, as one of our guinea pigs is newly adopted and it was thought she might be causing stress. So he is staying on one side of the cage with his best friend (they are both older and love to snuggle with each other all the time) while the younger girls are on the other side of the cardboard wall. We noticed both of the older pigs are not eating a lot of pellets from their bowl when we separated them, though they both are actively eating hay and will come to get special fruit and veggie treats.
Right now I am weighing him every morning, giving extra treats to him and his best buddy pig, and giving .3 ml of Baytril twice a day by syringe. If you have any ideas of what might have caused his weight loss/lethargy or any ideas of how we might be able to help him, it would be greatly appreciated! Thank you in advance!
Submitted: 29 days ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 29 days ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today.

Did his vets only end up examining him at that visit?

Any changes to his stools?

Does he take those extra treats you offer? What are they?

Any changes to his thirst?

Customer: replied 29 days ago.
Hello.At the visit, the vet only examined him by feeling his body and checking his teeth. She said the teeth/mouth seemed good, but that he was acting as if his belly was in pain.We noticed soft stools in the cage when we adopted the new guinea pig at the beginning of October, but we had thought they were hers. I do not see any in his side of the cage right now but his belly and bottom have matted fur.He has sometimes taken the treats. Yesterday he took some spinach and today he ate 2 raisins. However, he has refused to eat blueberries, which he used to like.He has always been drinking a lot of water, though it looks like he is not drinking as much now. He still drinking, just not as much as he used to.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 29 days ago.

Thank you,

First, I have to say that I am quite concerned that his initial examination suggested possible abdominal pain (something guinea pigs go to great lengths to hide unless severe), yet he wasn’t xrayed nor was pain relief dispensed. Since neither of those were done, it would be ideal to do so now. We’d hope that if we managed this pain that we’d get him eating better and halt the weight loss. Of course, if they felt the root of his pain was in the abdomen, then it’d be ideal to have an xray to see if we have a blockage (full or partial ), thickening of the gut, or even a mass in the gut or compressing it. So, I appreciate his vet wanted to minimize stress (which is very important with this species), but if there is pain, it needs to be addressed urgently so he isn’t left suffering. And I do think these steps need to be done now if he is passing no stools just now ; especially as he may be a gut stasis risk. Or if you think there is enough stuck to him to be a normal volume but is diarrhea, then we'd need to address that too since that carries a risk of dehydration and weakness.

Now further to that, we do see weight loss for a range of reasons. Often they can be divided into 3 categories: decreased nutrition intake (an problem if he isn’t eating pellets as before), increased outgoings (ie diarrhea - a possible issue for Windows, increased protein loss in the urine), or from internal issues (ie tumors stealing weight, organ or metabolic disease, etc). And the moment, while the third category is a concern, the first one sounds to be as well. Therefore, further to treats, consider offering treats that are more nutrient dense (since his favorites are all low calorie). As well, consider a nutrient paste (ie Nutrical, Stat-VME) and make sure he is getting adequate Vitamin C. You could also crush his pellets into veggie baby food to syringe geed. You should also add OTC probiotic for him to support his digestion, stool formation, and since he is on antibiotics that will be killing some of his good gut bacteria.

Overall, I am quite worried about Windows. The weight loss raises a few concerns as I noted above and he sounds like he could be teetering on the edge of gastric stasis (a cavy emergency). Furthermore, if we have a cavy in pain in his belly, we don't want to just sit on this and instead really need to address the pain and get an xray to see what we are facing so we can get this under control for him as quickly as possible.

Kind regards,

Dr. B.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond.

**Please rate me by clicking on the **stars** at the top of the page as this is the only way the site credits me for helping you. Thank you!: )

Customer: replied 26 days ago.
Hello,Thank you for your reply. I am hesitant to bring Windows back to the vet as she said any X-rays and/or blood tests would require sedation, which might result in death of an already sick guinea pig. I don't want to spend significant amounts of money and stress him out only to lose him, if that makes sense.He is still not eating pellets, but he is eating carrots, peas, lettuce, and a few bites of fruit like raisins or apples. He is also eating a lot of hay. We also just noticed sores on his feet once my fiance started holding him for me to give him the medicine. I am very annoyed that the vet did not check for this. He is getting a little more active and vocal since starting the Baytril, moving up to the side of the cage and wheeking for food when he is hungry (even though there are plenty of pellets in the cage...).He is passing stools but they are lighter colored (we are assuming due to the Baytril). He also seems to be less thirsty than usual. I am going to try crushing up the pellets and doing the syringe feed as suggested. Is there anything you would suggest doing for the sores on his back feet?Thank you in advance.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 26 days ago.

Hello again,

I understand, though I think you need to have serious chat with his vet. If he is subdued, then he may not actually have to have a sedation for an xray (the more important of the 2 options at this point). Or again at the very least they need to be giving him pain relief here even if he is perking up on the antibiotics. As well, if you aren't happy with the quality of their examination or treatment options, you may want to seek a second opinion locally to give him a chance here.

Otherwise, I would suggest an OTC probiotic to support the good gut bacteria that will be upset by the antibiotics. And do syringe feed as we discussed. In regards ***** ***** feet, we'd hope the antibiotics will help with those, but you can salt water bathe or soak the feet and again have the vet send home pain relief.

Kind regards,

Dr. B.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond.

**Please rate me by clicking on the **stars** at the top of the page as this is the only way the site credits me for helping you. Thank you!: )

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 26 days ago.
Hi Kimberly,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Windows. How is everything going?

Dr. B.